Hours after signing Tuesday, Cairo Santos became the first Bears player to actually kick field goals in a padded practice during training camp. Afterward, Bears coach Matt Nagy said the Bears will keep two kickers throughout the season as insurance against a coronavirus outbreak.
Both Santos and Eddy Pineiro, the nominal starter, are eligible for the practice squad this year. Pineiro still has not kicked while he nurses a slight groin injury.
“Cairo is here because of the plan that we had all along, which is to have a backup kicker,” Nagy said. “And then if something does happen to Eddy, we feel very good with Cairo. That’s the ‘why’ part.”
Nagy was a Chiefs assistant in Santos’ first three seasons there, from 2014-17. Santos kicked for the Beas briefly in 2017, too.
“When Eddy feels like he’s ready to get out there and start kicking again, that’s what we’re going to do,” Nagy said. “Now if it gets to a point where we feel like he’s not ready, then we feel comfortable with Cairo being our kicker in Week 1 if that’s the case. We’ve just gotta see.”